Best Bass Compressor Pedal Recommendations

Looking For The Best Bass Compressor Pedal?

No effect pedals single-stompboxedly shows more love to bass players than a compressor.  Compression pedals can change dullness into warm, punchy, sparkling sound.

Turbo-charge your bass rig with compression. You can better drive the band. Everyone gets richer, groovier music.

Please read below for five excellent choices.

Why Use a Compressor Pedal For Bass?

With the bass, not all of your notes may be felt or heard in the mix, especially in the lower frequencies.

  1. A compressor helps by smoothing out the dynamic range.  In other words, compression can boost the quieter notes  and dial-back the louder tones, giving a more consistent and level sound.  With mixing and mastering (and some live effects pedals/racks), artists and engineers use multi-band compression for even greater sonic possibilities.  Multiband allows you to change the compression parameters for different ranges of EQ. (Just so you know, many compression pedals sound great without explicit multiband compression)
  2. Using compression alters the attack, or punch, of the individual notes. Bass lines can project more rhythm and groove, and lock in tighter with the drummer and/or percussionist.
  3. When you boost the decaying tail of note (by compressing or squashing the signal), you create greater sustain. Plucked string instruments like the bass, the guitar, mandolin and the upright doublebass all of have quick decay.  On the other hand, bowed instruments and horns can hang on notes for a long time. Boosting the sustain allows you to increase the vocal-quality of certain melodic lines.
  4. Many compressors, especially with tubes, act like preamps and can warm up the tone of the instrument.

In summary, more consistent dynamic levels and warmth usually help the ear to enjoy a particular melodic line.  Combine that with extra attack at the beginning of notes, and your bass lines will be more easily heard and felt by fellow musicians and listeners.

Best Bass Compressor Pedal Comparision Chart

NameDescriptionReview
Electro-Harmonix Bass Preacher Bass Compressor/SustainerOur top choice!Read Review
MXR M87 Bass CompressorAnother excellent option.Read Review
TC Electronic SpectraComp Bass CompressorSuper simple and awesome choice.Read Review
Aguilar TLC Bass CompressionExcellent compression tone.Read Review
Markbass Compressore Tube Bass CompressorImpressive!Read Review

1. Electro-Harmonix Bass Preacher Bass Compressor/Sustainer

I am always on the hunt for a great compressor pedal for my Fender Jazz. I love rounding out the bottom with great pedal tones. That’s why I was very excited when EH announced the Electro-Harmonix Bass Preacher Bass Compressor/Sustainer Pedal last year. Rack mount compression units are now a thing of the past thanks to this pedal. EH packed this little piece of gear with some good-quality.

After playing with it for an hour or so, I realized that it’s the best compression pedal at its price on the market. Bass players that are new to using compression should invest in this effects unit. It is small, so it is not too cumbersome. It also is easy to manipulate. There are only two knobs on it, volume and sustain.

I like pedals designed this way. They do away with fancy bells and whistles and just give you great tone. Companies that focus on designing gear that just does one thing very well instead of a bevy of different things moderately are my preference. This pedal can squash the sound, unlike any other compressor pedal I’ve heard at this price. You can also give your bass tone just a light attack if that’s what you want.

Like all other EH pedals, the Electro-Harmonix Bass Preacher Bass Compressor/Sustainer Pedal comes included with a 9V power adapter. The Bass Preacher packs a lot of power and tonal variance in a small and affordable package.

Click here to check it out on Amazon!


2. MXR M87 Bass Compressor

Dunlop creates some of the best guitar and bass products in the world. They make great strings, cases, and effects pedals. I recently had the opportunity to run my Music Man through their MXR M87 Bass Compressor. I like to test compressors using this bass because it can be quite noisy. The latest compressor from the Dunlop has a lot to offer. Here is what I found when I tested it.

CHT – CHT is a proprietary technology from the company. The acronym stands for Constant Headroom Technology. The feature ensures that your signal will always be clean by never letting it top out.

Five knobs – There are five different knobs on the pedal designed to help the player sculpt their tone. Having these many parameters available to adjust is something that you only see in rack units. You can achieve the exact tone that you want using the release, attack, output, input, and ratio knobs. This is one of the most powerful compressors ever to be put into a pedal. The MXR M87 is one of the first five-knob compressors to be put into a pedal.

Led screen – The LED screen at the top of the pedal tells the player when it is nearing the threshold. I found this to be a very useful visual tool to help me get the exact kind of compression I needed. It helps you get the attack you need without making it clip.

This is a forward-thinking bass compression pedal. Many people have been asking for something like this for years. You can unlock the full dynamic range of your bass with the MXR M87 Bass Compressor.

Click here to check it out on Amazon!


3. TC Electronic SpectraComp Bass Compressor

Compression is a great way to get your bass signal to be less noisy and help it sit in the mix. The problem is, not every bass player has the room in their rig to for a rack unit. That is why TC Electronic makes the TC Electronic SpectraComp Bass Compressor Bass Compression Effect Pedal. TC Electronic makes some of the best rack compression units. I wasn’t surprised when the pedal version was excellent as well.

For those that are a fan of the System 6000 Processor that TC Electronics makes, this is the compression pedal for you. It uses the same technology as that compressor. The response on this compressor has been painstakingly designed to be suited perfectly for the bass guitar.

Another favorite aspect of this pedal is how simple it is. There is only one knob on the pedal. This knob determines how much compression you want to use. Simplicity does limit how much you change it on the fly when playing live, but compression isn’t a pedal where that’s utilized much.

The company has included their TonePrint technology in the TC Electronic SpectraComp Bass Compressor Bass Compression Effect Pedal. TonePrint allows the owner to connect the pedal to their PC or Mac via USB. Once they have done that, they can edit different parameters of the compression until users get the exact attack and response that they desire. The coolest thing about this technology is that you can even download and save compression settings that were designed by some bass guitar masters.

Click here to check it out on Amazon!


4. Aguilar TLC Bass Compression

Compression can be a necessary evil when playing bass live. The dynamic range of the instrument sometimes make soft notes too quiet, and louder notes may have too much volume.

This problem is why compression exists.

Unfortunately, not every bass player can afford to take a studio compression rack on the road with them. Aguilar, one of the most famous bass cabinet companies in the world, recently introduced the Aguilar TLC Bass Compression Effect Pedal. I had a blast playing through it. Here are a few of things that I found.

Size

I’m an effects enthusiasts. My pedal board is crowded. The diminutive size of the TLC Bass Compression Pedal was a welcome feature. I found a way to fit in snugly in my pedal board without having to disrupt the gain structure of my signal path. Despite its size, it is still very durable.

Range

This pedal has almost the same ability to modulate tone as a rack unit. There are four separate knobs. One for level, threshold, attack, and slope. Each one of them has a distinct effect on the signal when used. You can crunch down highs and boost lows with the Aguilar TLC Bass Compression Effect Pedal.

The Instrument In – The instrument in makes it possible for you to run from your amp to the pedal without using adapters. Not many compression pedals have an XLR in.

The pedal has a 1/4″ out. It is powered via 9V battery or 9V adapter. I found that the tone was cleaner when I used the power adapter.

Click here to check it out on Amazon!


5. Markbass Compressore Tube Bass Compressor

The Markbass Compressore Tube Bass Compressor Pedal is an Italian made pedal that packs some useful and very thoughtful features. I recently used this compressor pedal and here are some of its features and benefits.

Impressive Sound

The first thing I noticed about this pedal is that it has almost no noise. I had to put it through its paces and see how it reacts, therefore, I set it to high compression setting and the noise coming from it was very low. This tube pedal adds a nice thickness to the mids and produces very smooth and clean sounds. I did not experience any loss of lows and my low-end tones sounded big and full. The upper-end tones sound kind of dark and the useful highs are not rolled off.

Under normal compression and use, the tone is clean and articulate, but it sounds muddy under heavy constant compression. I was able to also get a smooth and remarkable range in tone by trying out the different threshold and ratio settings that the Markbass Compressore has. This pedal features a full range of controls that are all very effective.

No Distortion

The Markbass Compressore handles instruments level signals thrown at it very well without distorting. Therefore, you can use it as a peak limiter. However, its signal dips and swells when you hit the pedal with a strong spike over the threshold. To avoid this, play with less extreme spikes or a higher threshold.

Tube Compression

Unlike in other tube compressors where the tube only serves as a gain stage, this pedal’s tube also performs compressions.

The Markbass Compressore Tube Bass Compressor Pedal is thoughtfully designed and produces great sound. I would recommend it to all guitarists.

Click here to check it out on Amazon!


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